The First Step in the Fight Against Obesity

Obesity's Negative Effects

Obesity’s Negative Effects

By now, many of us are inwardly responding with “blah, blah, blah” when we hear all the hype about the epidemic of obesity. We see it all around us in our daily lives because obesity is one of those disorders that is out there in plain sight. It is worn out for the world to see.

There is a strong emotional component to obesity that often gets less attention because of how at risk an obese person’s health becomes. But prior to all the physical harm which takes its toll over time, there is the teasing and taunting and the battering of self-esteem and of self-regard. There is the endless inner berating that comes from wondering ‘what is wrong with me?’ ‘why can’t I control myself?’ ‘why can’t I be more like everybody else?’ ‘why am I so broken?’

It doesn’t take rocket science to realize the detrimental impact this type of self talk does to a person’s sense of worth and esteem. Not only does this cause the emotional torment, but where is a person who has turned to food for emotional reasons in the past going to go when they feel emotionally battered? Right back to the food, their solace; their safe haven. And so the cycle continues.

According to present-day research, there are more than 90.5 million (that’s MILLION) Americans who meet the medical diagnosis of obesity. 12.5 million are children. THAT is why there is so much talk about the obesity epidemic. The research proving the connection between obesity and increased heart problems and diabetes is overwhelmingly indisputable.

Spending Money

Spending Money

The out of pocket costs of obesity are insane, justifying in excess of $3 million dollars annually for celebrity endorsements of major weight-loss programs. But the macro concern is that of health costs of obesity to insurances and the government. Predictive costs are through the ceiling and needless to say, that gets people’s attention.

I have to wonder, how many people who suffer from being overweight keep track of what they eat during the day. Although there are so many different plans and programs available, I don’t think any one of them works more effectively than mindful accountability.

Taking Baby Steps

Taking Baby Steps

None of us is being force fed. We are eating because we choose to eat. And while economics play a huge factor in the healthfulness of the types of food we can afford, the portions can always be smaller. We don’t have to eat as much today as we did yesterday and for many of us, that can be the first step to taking control back over something that we have given up control to.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

3 responses »

  1. I’m sorry, but there are some things about this that really irritate me. Firstly, I wonder why you make the assumption that people who are overweight automatically eat more than others? I’ve seen some professional football players pack away an awful lot of food. Not to mention a lot of high school- and college-aged youngsters I could name. On the other hand, I eat very little. My average lunch or dinner consists of about 1 ounce of lean meat, and about the same amount of fresh vegetables. I’ll venture a guess that most of the people reading this eat more. And, yet, I’m obese by anyone’s standards.

    Also, I can guarantee you that any adult who is significantly overweight has tried to lose weight at least once in their lives. One of the standard components of most weight-loss programs is a food diary, or some sort of system by which the person keeps track of what he/she eats. So, that can put rest to your wondering about that.

    As for “mindful accountability,” I’ll tell you what happens more than anything. Since there is a lot of “overwhelmingly indisputable” amount of research showing that weight-loss programs just plain don’t work, in the long run, (except for a few very fortunate individuals), what usually happens is that the obese person looks at that list of foods, and then looks at the scale, and becomes more and more depressed.

    The fact is that if even one of those myriad of weight-loss programs out there worked with more than a few lucky souls, everyone would be using it and there would be no more obesity epidemic. The fact that more and more programs are touted every week only highlights our failure at finding out a way to take the weight off.

    I read an article yesterday about a study where researchers were shocked to discover that there is actually a sub-group of obese people who have cholesterol and blood sugar levels that are well within the normal range, and are otherwise very healthy. So, what conclusion did they draw? They proclaimed that this group of individuals need to be badgered even more than the rest of us to lose weight, because of the “risk factors” associated with obesity. What risk factors? They’re healthier than a lot of people who weight a lot less.

    All of these studies that supposedly point to obesity as being a leading cause of heart disease and all of these other conditions don’t come close to solving the problem. I have yet to see one of them that filters out the effects of things like depression and anxiety, also considered to be major risk factors, due to bullying and low self-esteem they are made to feel after failing to lose weight with yet another diet. Researchers don’t look at how diet pills and other fad diets can do significant harm to the body. I know most of the health problems I currently have are directly related to efforts I have made to lose weight, rather than the weight itself.

    As for what we’re doing to our children, I’m frankly appalled. By all of this attention on childhood obesity, we’re convincing an entire generation that they’re not as good as their peers. Why? Because their metabolism works differently. This is why we have so many of our young people becoming anorexic, or having bariatric surgery in their teens, or who commit suicide or gun down their classmates because they’ve been bullied about their weight.

  2. Hi there and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Actually, we are saying quite a few of the same things although it sounds as if you think I am disagreeing with your point of view.

    My post should be making the point that I too don’t believe in all the ‘voo-doo’ plans that keep getting all the attention. I advocate keeping food journals and working on ‘NOT DIETING’ because it is something that has to last a lifetime if it is going to be worthwhile.

    I also talk about the emotional impact of being overweight because THAT is more harmful to many people than the physical risks by far – so although I don’t know that teens that have weight issues are the ones that become the shooters in schools per se, I do believe that overweight teens become a real target for bullies.

    I know because i was one of them.

    I also know that 3500 calories make a pound and unless someone has a medical condition that is extremely rare, we don’t gain a pound unless we eat 3500 calories more than we did when we weighed a pound less. There are some numeric facts about weight, exercise, and food consumption.

    My email address is and I am more than glad to carry on more of a discussion about this if you would like to.

    Thanks again for sharing your insights and thoughts.


    • I was also one of those overweight teens who became a target for bullies. Worse, I was driven to my first weight-loss group meeting by my mother at the age of 11, and it was a horrible experience that I’ve never gotten over. Seems this national organization had a policy where the person who gained the most weight in the group every week had to put on a pair of huge overalls while the group sang some song about being a piggie. Imagine the impact on an impressionable young mind.

      There are times when I eat quite a lot less than 3500 calories a day, and walk 2-3 miles.. And yet, I continue to gain weight. I’m not alone in this world. I wish someone could figure out why, but every doctor I have gone to either calls me a liar or shrugs and says they haven’t invented the test to find out why. There’s a lot more to obesity than calories in and out.

      I’m not saying these things just for myself, though. It disturbs me that we have people having their second, and third, bariatric surgery. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who have made themselves seriously ill through their efforts to lose weight. This has got to stop.

      I may contact you privately at some point. Thanks for the offer.

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